Pedro Sanchez he had all the elements in hand. The legitimacy and support “in line” of all the European institutions. Even France, the country most reluctant to Spanish positions on Morocco, had no choice but to silence the criticism of its Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to the “mismanagement of migration in Spain and Italy”.
I even had a Extraordinary European Council by hand, this Monday, to show Rabat a position of strength from the entire EU. But that meant sanctions against the regime of Mohamed VI but, according to a government source, “you can’t humiliate your neighbor”.
The head of the Spanish Executive could even present himself in the hands of the crisis with Belarus. To change the agenda of a European Council, to include topics, it is necessary for one country to propose and another to support.
This had happened with Lithuania, prompting a warning to the regime of Alexander Lukashenko for the “hijacking” of the plane and the opposition blogger Roman Protasevich. Without hesitation, the Twenty-seven proposed sanctions and decreed an immediate ban for the country’s airlines from flying over the EU.
Pedro Sánchez even counted on “devastating images of babies thrown into the water” still in the retina of his partners (and of public opinion) to have justified an effective response. In fact, part of the president’s environment regrets not having had “an obvious gesture”, for example, after the cayuco crisis that brought 20,000 illegal immigrants to the Canary Islands last fall.
But this time (again) “It is necessary to be prudent because the situation is being redirected”, explain sources of the Executive. For this reason, Sánchez’s team contacted that of Mario Draghi, and the Italian Prime Minister proposed – with the support of Spain – to put an issue on the agenda: to put the New Pact on Migration and Asylum up for debate (again).
Thus, Moncloa achieved two things, that the crisis in Ceuta did not go unanswered, and that this was an obvious message for Morocco: we do not want to hurt ourselves.
In fact, in his brief words to the press before entering the meeting, Sánchez established a position on the “intolerable” action of Belarus before speaking about Morocco. And he avoided repeating his speech from just six days ago. He no longer referred to a “deliberate operation by a third country against the Spanish and European Union borders”, nor to a “serious border crisis” with Rabat.
In the midst of the crisis, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande MarlaskaHe even said in the Moncloa press room that “migration policy is a European competence.” But There is nothing further from reality. In fact, it is probably the last of the cessions of sovereignty that, in the best of all possible worlds for them, the European federalists later hope will arrive in Brussels.
But Marlaska tried to avoid, that day, that the focus of the border aggression of Rabat in Ceuta was diverted to migration: “It is not a migratory crisis, nor is it a diplomatic one”, he explained, “it is much more serious than that.”
The pact to provide the European Union with a common migration policy is “one of the biggest failures of the EU in its years of history “, in the words of the High Representative for Foreign Policy, the former Spanish minister Josep Borrell. The Commission proposed it last September and, for various reasons, no country paid the slightest attention to it.
Thus, that Italy – with the support of Spain – took this matter to the Council gave an image of support from the partners – this newspaper had the headline “Sánchez and Draghi join forces to reform EU migration policy after the crisis in Ceuta” – and, furthermore, it avoided any approach to the crisis in the key of conflict with Rabat.
“It will not be the Spanish government that will bring problems with Morocco to the EU,” authorized government sources explain to this newspaper, “on the contrary, we have always been the supporters of Rabat against Brussels“They added. But that is not entirely true either. It is Paris – the successive governments of the French Republic – which has always represented the interests of Rabat, in a kind of pincer on Madrid.
The position in Moncloa is now “prudent.” It has changed since it achieved the intervention of the United States. On Tuesday 18 at the last minute the “de-escalation of tension” began when the State Department asked Morocco to “work with Spain” to solve it. In return, Madrid turned his speech around and turned the border crisis and the aggression against the Spanish sovereignty of Ceuta into a migratory conflict.
“If the tension drops, we are not going to put Rabat into a conflict, because they know they have passed“, conclude the government sources.” Yes, “they warn,” there is no doubt that if it is not redirected, things will change“.